Our statement on scope to develop land adjacent to our oldest reserve

Askham Bog (C) Kirsten Smith

A developer has submitted a scoping report to York City Council to build 500 houses on Greenbelt land adjacent to Askham Bog.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust believe the site off Moor lane at Woodthorpe is unsuitable for plans of this scale and we are appalled by attempts once again by a developer and their tenacious demand to build in the wrong place. We will continue to fight any plans which would destroy the fragile fabric of Askham Bog and the wildlife that lives there.
 
Our work with and advice to developers, Councils and Natural England on suitable sites in local plans, as well as the impact of any development, is ongoing  – we recognise the need for homes and schools but these must be built in the right place.
 
Askham Bog has legal protection as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which makes it one of our country’s finest wildlife sites.  The site was also deleted from the Local Plan because of the unacceptable damage to the wildlife from development.  It forms part of an important ecological network of sites around York, giving wildlife a home and sanctuary. Building here would also fundamentally and irrevocably damage the landscape and the way water flows through the reserve – crucial to maintaining the mosaic of wetland, marsh and woodland habitat.
 
Askham Bog was gifted to the people of York by Sir Francis Terry and Arnold Rowntree in the 1940s giving it cultural significance – it is one of our most loved and veteran sites. It offers an oasis of wildlife and calm to the people of York and we know how highly valued it is by local residents. In 2016, it celebrated its 70th birthday when Sir David Attenborough visited and called it a ‘cathedral for conservationists.’